Iowa Water Quality Information System

Stream monitoring

Title: Iowa Water Quality Information System

Location: University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa

Time Period: 2012-present

Research Team: Christopher S. Jones, Ibrahim Demir, Jerry Mount, Larry Weber, and Gabriele Villarini

Project Description: The Iowa Water Quality Information System (IWQIS) is a network of water quality measurement devices deployed in streams distributed across the state of Iowa. The IWQIS design is based on the vision and technical expertise of the generalized water cyberinfrastructure developed at the Iowa Flood Center. IWQIS provides an integrated and scalable workflow environment to support end-to-end cyberinfrastructure for sharing scientific research and observations, as well as scientific visualization, communication of observations and modeling results that assist watershed management and research.

A wide variety of data are available for immediate public use through IWQIS ( The measured water quality parameter of most interest is nitrate (NOx-N) concentration, although pH, turbidity, specific conductance, dissolved oxygen and temperature are also measured at numerous sites. Discharge measurements are available at 35 sites, and at these locations NOx-N load and yield data are also available.

Data is also harvested from sites operated by USGS. All the USGS sites include discharge measurements along with additional water quality parameters at some sites. IWQIS sites generally fall into one of four categories: statewide load estimation, water quality initiative (WQI) demonstration projects, research projects, and USGS sites.

Equipment owned by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS-USDA) and Coe College also is part of the IWQIS network. All archived data is made available upon request.


1) Jones, C.S., Davis, C.A., Drake, C.W., Schilling, K.E., Debionne, S.H., Gilles, D.W., Demir, I. and Weber, L.J., 2018. Iowa statewide stream nitrate load calculated using in situ sensor network. JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 54(2), pp.471-486.

2) Jones, C.S., Drake, C.W., Hruby, C.E., Schilling, K.E. and Wolter, C.F., 2019. Livestock manure driving stream nitrate. Ambio, 48(10), pp.1143-1153.

3) Jones, C.S., Kim, S.W., Wilton, T.F., Schilling, K.E. and Davis, C.A., 2018. Nitrate uptake in an agricultural stream estimated from high-frequency, in-situ sensors. Environmental monitoring and assessment, 190(4), p.226.

Funders: Iowa Nutrient Research Center, Housing and Urban Development (Iowa Watershed Approach), National Science Foundation, Carver Trust, and Polk County Water Trails

Disclaimer:  This is an active research site, please contact Chris Jones ( prior to planning any site visits.